ARCog 2: Transmission
13-14 January 2014: Senate House, London
This meeting was supported by the British Academy, the Institute for Classical Studies, and the universities of Nottingham and Liverpool.
The theme for this meeting was religious transmission. On the first day, before the meeting proper began, Luther Martin, University of Vermont, held a discussion on ‘Evolution, Cognition and Historiography’ for those who wanted to think about the relationship between historical analysis and cognitive approaches more generally.
The participants had received pre-readings about the relevant cognitive approaches, and ancient evidence that would be the focus of discussion.
The meeting began with three presentations on cognitive approaches to religious transmission: Jesper Sørensen, University of Aarhus, on ‘The Epidemiology of Representations and Cultural Immunology; Robin Dunbar, University of Oxford, on ‘The Origins of Religion as a Small Scale Phenomenon’; and Robert McCauley, Emory University, on ‘Ritual and Memory’; this was followed by a plenary discussion.
On the second day, Greg Woolf, University of Andrews (and now at the ICS) and Jan Bremmer (University of Groningen) presented the group with ancient evidence to consider in light of the cognitive approaches they had discussed the previous day. Greg Woolf discussed concepts of ‘Posterity in the Arval Acta’ and Jan Bremmer presented on miracles in the context of the spread of Christianity. The group stayed in plenary to discuss their responses, ideas and possible ways to proceed.
This film shows some of the meeting, including interviews with some of the participants.